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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 13 - 19  > Okinawans rally against construction of U.S. helipads
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2007 June 13 - 19 [US FORCES]

Okinawans rally against construction of U.S. helipads

June 18, 2007
In opposition to the planned construction of six helipads in the U.S. Marine Corps Northern Training Area in Okinawa, about 350 Okinawans held a rally on June 17 in Higashi Village.

The central government is planning to start the construction in the area covered by dense forest as early as July.

The plan is faced with strong opposition from a wide range of residents. The World Wide Fund for Nature Japan (WWF-Japan) issued a statement calling for the halt of the government plan.

Dietmembers of the Japanese Communist, Social Democratic, and Democratic parties attended this rally. Messages of solidarity were sent from Iha Yoichi, Ginowan City Mayor and Itokazu Keiko, the joint progressive candidate running for the upcoming House of Councilors election in the Okinawa constituency.

Nakamine Takeo, chair of the local Takae District in the village, said, “We have been suffering from accidents and noise pollutions caused by U.S. helicopters. The U.S. Marine Corps has conducted training exercises near the dam reservoir and dumped ammunition there. We refuse to assume any more burdens.”

“It is absurd to construct helipads in the dense forest so rich in biodiversity,” Hanawa Shin’ichi, a representative of WWF-Japan, said.

Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Akamine Seiken said, “The construction of helipads will pave the way for the deployment of Osprey, a new aircraft with known defects, to planned new U.S. base in Nago City. The construction will inflict tremendous damage not only to the Takae District but to Okinawa’s northern area as a whole. We need to block the construction at all costs.” - Akahata, June 18, 2007
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